Andrew Lord moves on after 2019/20 season
Andrew Lord has departed the Cardiff Devils after spending 7 seasons with the team as both a player and a coach after transitioning from player to head coach at the club between 2013/14 and the 2019/20 season. In a hastily announced press conference on Thursday evening for the following day. Todd Kelman announced it just after 1pm on Friday afternoon in the press whilst sitting 2m away from Lord and Neil Francis. It is expected that Lord will move to the ECHL with rumours flying around that Lord's former club Wheeling Nailers posting about announcing an assistant coach later today. Wheeling Nailers are the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins giving Lord a route to the biggest hockey league in the world at the young coaching age of 35 years.
In his 7 years at the Devils, Lord has lifted 2 challenge cups, 2 league titles and 2 playoff championships for a very successful tenure at the Devils allowing him to gain the opportunity to move on. Lord also oversaw the move from the Big Blue Tent to the brand new Viola Arena. After the very disappointing season of 13/14 where the Devils finished in 9th place and only finishing above Edinburgh Capitals. Lord has completely changed the fortunes of the club beginning with the Challenge Cup victory in 2014/15 after the new ownership group had taken over.
During his reign as player/coach and head coach, Lord has managed a record of 221-75-22 which gives him a win percentage of 76.4%. This is a very impressive record for a head coach in his first role as head coach and including years where he balanced being the coach and playing for the team before making the transition to full time head coach. Crowds at the BBT and Viola Arena also saw a big increase during Lord's tenure averaging 1,425 in 2013-14 when Lord first started to reaching 2,965 during the 2019/20 season. Attracting crowds is vital for British hockey and Lord has managed to do that with the product on the ice and also off it due to fantastic scouting and team building in the off season alongside managing director, Todd Kelman.
Lord created a winning environment in Cardiff that was clear to see as the Devils hadn't won a trophy in 7 years prior to him taking over and had failed to reach the 8 out of 10 team playoffs in the season prior. 2019/20 became Lord's first season without a trophy after losing the challenge cup final to the Steelers and not being awarded the league title by the EIHL on points per game similar to most other sporting leagues across the world.
Kelman said that they haven't started looking for a new coach yet but they have plenty of time to make a good but difficult decision. This will be a start of a whirlwind of rumours about who will be the next head coach of the Cardiff Devils for the 2020/21 season and going forward.